We’re approaching the point in the season where a team in the Championship begins their run of 12 consecutive wins and turns a relegation fight into a promotion push – you may laugh, but it always happens.
You’d like to think by this stage of the campaign you’d be able to predict the outcome of at least a couple of games, y’know like automatic promotion chasing Swansea facing relegation threatened Huddersfield, that sort of thing…
Yeah, let’s be honest, it just doesn’t happen in England’s second tier.
After another round of fixtures full of thrills and spills, here are your winners and losers from gameweek 31 in the Championship.
Consistency is the key to success in any league, but none more so than the Championship.
Middlesbrough have been both brilliant and abject at times this campaign, and their lack of consistency is the reason their automatic promotion push has long since gone down the pan.
However, the play-offs are still a distinct possibility, and Boro’s 2-0 win away against a classy Reading side is a huge confidence boost for Neil Warnock’s men.
Not only is it three points against a play-off rival, Boro have now won two on the bounce for the first time since before Christmas.
Surely it’s not happening again?
Every single season Brentford seem to have the best squad, they play the best football, they score the most goals, they don’t concede many, AND YET THEY’RE STILL IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP.
Thomas Frank’s side just don’t seem to have it in them to drag themselves over the line in the race for promotion, and once again the wheels are in serious danger of coming off.
The Bees suffered a damaging 2-0 defeat away at lowly Coventry meaning it’s now three defeats on the spin for Frank’s men, and their promotion push is in serious danger of running out of steam.
No manager in the Championship will be breathing sigh of relief as deep as Aitor Karanka right now.
To be honest, it’s a miracle he’s still in a job. Birmingham had picked up just one win in their previous 14 outings in all competitions before their trip to fellow strugglers Sheffield Wednesday, and defeat at Hillsborough would surely have signalled the end of the Spaniard’s tenure.
After Liam Shaw was dismissed for the Owls following a second yellow card early in the second half, Karanka’s men rallied and Scott Hogan’s strike was enough to grab the three points and probably save his manager’s job.
It’s been a tricky couple of months for Bournemouth, with Jason Tindall paying the price for his side’s shocking form.
The arrival of Jonathan Woodgate as interim boss seemed to lift the mood at the Vitality Stadium, but with Thierry Henry rumoured to be lined up to take permanent charge, Woodgate may have just signed off with a damaging defeat.
The Cherries went down 2-1 at QPR, and wins for Cardiff, Middlesbrough, Stoke and Barnsley in the chasing pack mean the cushion Bournemouth had between themselves and those below them has now disappeared.
How could we not class Huddersfield as winners after they smashed automatic promotion chasing Swansea 4-1?
After nine without a win in all competitions, the Terriers were slipping perilously close to the bottom three, but goals from Fraizer Campbell, Lewis O’Brien and a double for Duane Holmes ensured Carlos Corberan’s men ended their wretched run and pulled themselves away from the drop zone.
We’ve already classed Birmingham City as winners in this week’s roundup, but we can’t ignore the fact the team they beat are in massive trouble now.
Interim boss Neil Thompson’s eyes will have lit up at the sight of Birmingham’s form leading up to their trip to Hillsborough, with Wednesday offered a fantastic chance to claw their way out of the bottom three.
Instead, it was the visitors who took the three points and the Owls are now three points from safety – it’s beginning to look desperate.